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Stocks edge lower, on track for weekly loss

Traders work the floor of the New York

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange before the closing bell on July 10, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / John Moore

Stocks edged mostly lower Friday as investors assessed corporate news. The stock market is headed for its biggest weekly loss since April after ending the previous week at a record high.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,962 as of 12:07 p.m. on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,884. The Nasdaq composite gained four points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,400.

SALES MISS: Industrial and construction supplies company Fastenal dropped $2.27, or 4.7 percent, to $45.88 after reporting sales that fell short of analyst's expectations. The company said revenue climbed 12 percent to $949.9 million from $847.6 million in the same quarter a year ago. Analysts expected $951 million.

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: Tobacco company Lorillard rose $2.28, or 3.6 percent, to $65.37, after rival Reynolds American confirmed it was in talks with Lorillard and British American Tobacco, its largest shareholder, about an acquisition. Reynolds fell 87 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $61.38.

THE EARNINGS TAPE: U.S. companies are starting to report their results for the second quarter, and investors are expecting to see more growth in profits. Earnings for S&P 500 companies are forecast to rise by 6.5 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

THE QUOTE: "The market is looking for signs of strength and certainly earnings are going to figure pretty heavily," said Jim Russell, a regional investment director at US Bank.

JITTERY WEEK: The S&P 500 index is poised for its biggest weekly loss since April after closing out the previous week at a record high. Stocks retreated from all-time highs this week as investors worried the rally may have gone too far. Worries about the soundness of a Portuguese bank also spooked U.S. investors.

The S&P 500 has dropped 1.2 percent this week, its biggest fall since the week ending April 11, when investors sold stocks following disappointing bank earnings.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which falls when prices climb, dropped to 2.52 percent from 2.54 percent late Thursday. The price of oil fell $1.44, or 1.4 percent, to $101.93.


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